Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fostering collaboration

Here's a really neat website. It is the portal for the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, one of several federally-funded centers designed to promote the acceleration of medical scientific advances to clinical application -- or to put it more simply, improving human health.

Harvard Catalyst, as we have nicknamed it, is "a shared enterprise of Harvard University, its ten schools and its eighteen Academic Healthcare Centers, as well as the Boston College School of Nursing, MIT, the Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and numerous community partners." It is funded by a five year, $117.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (Clinical and Translational Science Center, CTSC) and $75 million dollars from the Harvard University Science and Engineering Committee, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, BIDMC, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The major job of Harvard Catalyst is to connect thousands of investigators in the Boston area, to encourage the growth of the clinical and translation investigative community, and to enable success through access to resources and by reducing barriers. That is where the website comes in.

Play with it and try out some of its features. After you get through (or click past) the opening scenes, click through to "Profiles" under "People". How would you like to search?

Let's say you want to see who is working in the area of say, sleep. Put that in as a key word, and you will see the 360 people in the Harvard system who have any record in their CV about research related to sleep. Click on any one of them to see his or her complete CV, other research interests, co-authors, other researchers who have similar interests, and even people who have offices near the one you chose. If you see an article of interest, click on it, and go right to the abstract.

Need to locate a core facility to help with an experiment you are planning? Click through to "Core Facilities" under "Resources." Then pick the category you want on the left to get a full description of services offered by each individual facility.

Now, you want to drive to that spot: Go to the "Atlas" under "Resources" and get driving (and parking!) directions to the place you are seeking.

And so on.

Good stuff, I think, and well presented and easy to use.


Anonymous said...

I am very concerned about the collaboration (or lack there of) with nurses on this site and at Harvard in general.

I found myself giddy with excitement at this posting only to find not a single nurse.

Any insight?

RN, MSN, PhD Candidate

Anonymous said...

This is an important comment and an area we are addressing. There are PhD nurses who have applied for our Pilot Grant program and have formed new collaborations (e.g. Boston college nursing research faculty and doctoral students with Chuck Czeiler's sleep study group at BWH, another one with children's hospital on transplantation, and a third in neonatology that will involve BIDMC.)

In addition, all PHD nurses are eligible for our K12 multidiciplinary faculty program which provides 75,000 dollars per year for three years with didactic training and mentoring to nuture them during the critical years as they try to become independent clinical translational investigators.

Lastly, Boston College Nursing School is fully integrated into the Harvard Catalyst. Their new Dean, Dr. Susan Gennaro, is taking the lead at the Harvard Hospitals under the Harvard Catalyst which also involves surrounding nursing schools (e.g. Simmons), to address how to more fully integrate and support nursing research.

Finally, since this issue is so critical, I recently served on a panel of world leading nurses to address this and as well, Lee Nadler and I were asked last week to become faculty members at Boston College.

Steven D. Freedman MD PhD